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May 18, 2016

UMass tennis comfortably defeats Quinnipiac

The Massachusetts tennis team defeated Quinnipiac 6-1 Sunday, securing an important home victory as a crucial stretch of the schedule approaches.

UMass’ (7-2) duo of Chanel Glasper and Jocelyn Providence won the No. 3 doubles match by a score of 8-6, which proved to be the deciding team point for UMass. The victory followed a No. 1 match win by Yuliana Motyl and Chantel Swiszcz, who defeated Quinnipiac’s pair of Rachel Cantor and Sarah Viebrock, 8-1.

This success carried over into the singles portion of the event, where the Minutewomen won five of six matches. The lone loss occurred at the No. 1 slot, where Cantor defeated Motyl 6-3, 6-3. UMass controlled the rest of the singles matches, as Sonia Bokhari, Arielle Griffin, Jessica Podlofsky, Gasper and Providence all won on straight sets.

Despite the Bobcats (3-1) modest record, UMass coach Judy Dixon didn’t underestimate the threat they posed.

“I’m always scared to play Quinnipiac because of their talent, particularly at the top,” Dixon said.  “But so far, we’ve competed well. In the two matches we lost, we faced top 75 programs, but we competed well in both of them.”

The victory over Quinnipiac also served as a strong evaluation tool for Dixon, who highlighted both past performances and future matchups.

“We competed well against Dartmouth (a 6-1 UMass loss), and because we are about to play Fordham, and that’s a really big match, I felt the Quinnipiac win was a nice win and put us in the right frame of mind for Sunday,” she said.

Sunday marks the beginning of a difficult four-game stretch for the Minutewomen, as they host conference rival Fordham. This begins a five match in 14 day stretch, highlighted by matchups with Binghamton, Xavier, Dayton and Boston College.

UMass will go on without Julia Comas, who suffered a foot injury that prematurely ended her senior campaign. This has required other members of the team to step up in her absence.

“We’re having to adapt,” Dixon said. “We took the No. 3 player on the team and we don’t have her anymore. The matches we would have won easily with (Comas) we now have to fight to win, and we are. But it makes us more vulnerable, that’s for sure.”

Now a greater emphasis will be placed on the bottom of the lineup. Against Quinnipiac, the No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches were occupied by  Glasper and Swiszcz, respectively. Because of the roster fluctuation, Dixon will need everyone to compete at a high level.

“We need to really get more productivity, and a bit stronger play,” Dixon said. “The middle part of the lineup is going well, and we’ve scored a doubles point every time out. Our top of the lineup is performing well. Without Julia Comas, it means everybody has to move up a spot at the bottom.”

The Minutewomen will resume play on Sunday against Fordham at the Bay Road Tennis Center.

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at mchiarel@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.

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